What does it mean to be a technologist in a social justice space? Who benefits from tech and who is left behind? How can we ensure the internet works for the benefit of all and not just a few? These are questions that public interest technologists seek to address in their work.
Public interest technologists aim to bridge the gap between what technologies are trying to build and what issues social scientists are trying to solve.
Technology can make a positive difference in our world. But as it rapidly grows and changes our lives, opening up new avenues and showing us fresh possibilities, tech can also deepen existing inequalities. We believe in harnessing technology to serve justice and the public interest – and we see a wealth of opportunities to do so.
That’s why the Ford Foundation is working with a community of partners to develop a path for people to use their technology skills to change the world for the better: the professional field of public interest technology. Public interest technology is just what it sounds like – technology used to serve the public good. That can mean working to ensure that as the US census goes online for the first time, it is accessible and accurate. It can mean researching the negative side effects of using artificial intelligence in our criminal justice system, or even developing technical standards that emphasize privacy and free expression.
Learn more about the individuals and organizations growing the field of Public Interest Tech.